Cambodia beefs up security for world leaders

Special forces of urgent intervention unit stand by for 24 hours near the Peace Palace on 8 July, 2012.

PHNOM PENH — Tens of thousands of the Cambodian armed forces have been built up to provide special security and safe for the top leaders of the 10 ASEAN member states and high-ranking delegates from other nations, including the U.S., China, and Russia.

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday morning officially opens the 45th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting at his office known as the Peace Palace, next to the Council of Ministers, where U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is expected to join with her ASEAN counterparts in the week.

Armed men from PMBU or Prime Minister’s Bodyguard Unit guard in front of the Council of Minister on 8 July, 2012.

Thousands of police forces from the Interior Ministry and thousands of Military Police forces from the Ministry of National Defense, including Prime Minister Hun Sen’s body guards, have been deployed across the capital during a series of meetings – 45th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM), Post Ministerial Conferences (PMC), 19th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and 2nd East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (EAS FMM)  –which started Monday (July 6) for running 8 days.

Gen. Touch Naroth, the Phnom Penh Police Chief, said that just his police forces are up to 5,168 stationing everywhere in the city to provide special protection to all delegates and their accompanists. The number of forces does not include the municipal military police forces and the forces from both Ministry of Interior and Ministry and National Defense, he added.

Gen. Touch Naroth, the Phnom Penh Police Chief, instructs his forces.

“We trained our forces and with our good experience from the ASEAN summit in April, we hope that we are able to provide water-tight protection for our guests during the event,” he said.

Although Gen. Naroth said he would not expect any danger such as terrorism, kidnapping, and bombing happening during the event, a special force unit for urgent intervention is also standing by for 24 hours in case there is any sign of trouble. Moreover, he said, the joint forces have stood at the street corners, hotels and markets where the delegates are staying, traveling, and shopping. The forces have also patrolled along the streets, he said.

Troops of the special force unit for urgent intervention stand near the Peace Palace building

Surrounding the Peace Palace building has been guarded by armed men from a unit known as PMBU or Prime Minister’s Bodyguard Unit.

“We try our best to protect our delegates and this time we have special delegates from big countries, especially from America, China, and Russia. When we success with our mission it is a huge image of our Cambodia and we can tell the world that Cambodia is safe enough for staying and sightseeing,” he said.

The 10 ASEAN nations are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Special force unit for urgent intervention ready to provide safe for ASEAN meetings.

Cambodian journalist take photo of special force unit for urgent intervention on 8 July, 2012.

The ASEAN member states and other powerful nations such as the U.S., China and Russia will sign a Nuclear Free Zone Treaty in ASEAN region while the dispute on South China Sea between China and some ASEAN nations is still the hot issue.

The event is also participated in by 17 other countries: Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, China, European Union, India, Japan, Mongolia, New Zealand, both South and North Korea, , Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Russia, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste, and the US. More than one thousand national and international journalist are on the spot.

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